Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Turning Customer Satisfaction into Customer Loyalty

Achieving customer satisfaction is a good goal for any business to work towards. Taking it a step further, an ideal goal is customer loyalty. Most people can quickly think of a business they feel loyal to, one they gush about to others and return to again and again for repeat business. How does a company work to gain this sort of loyalty from its customers? Obviously, offering quality and useful products or services is the first step, but while this can result in customer satisfaction, to achieve customer loyalty a business should offer memorably remarkable customer service.

One of the first steps to developing strong, positive customer relationships is to listen. Make it as easy as possible for customers to provide feedback on their experiences with the company and products. There are several options for incorporating a simple system for this, such as Mojo Helpdesk. Allow the customer to provide immediate feedback regarding a customer service inquiry through Mojo Helpdesk ratings, for even better customer communication. This lets representatives know how well they’ve handled the situation and gives customers the opportunity to communicate their feelings on the experience without contributing much extra time or effort. If you're seeking more detailed information, utilize customer surveys. You can also let respondents know how valuable their feedback is by offering a future discount (or something comparable) to those who fill it out.

Ideally, customer complaints would always come through the proper customer service channels, but increasingly some customers choose to turn to social media and online review websites to express their feelings. By monitoring what users are saying about a business in social media and websites (like Yelp, Facebook, and Twitter),  it’s possible to collect important feedback and respond to customers quickly to resolve problems. It also allows for a greater awareness of the customers praising or recommending the company to others and can be used as a venue to express gratitude and show you’re paying attention.

Never forget that the company can’t exist without its customers. Treat them with all the respect this knowledge merits. Respond quickly to concerns they express and work with them on each issue until it is resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.  Most importantly, when you encounter difficult customers, endeavor to win them over with kindness and consideration. Sometimes the most difficult customers can become the most loyal, if their complaints are handled well.

As customer service increasingly gives way to complicated phone menus and websites that make it a challenge to reach an actual representative. When you ensure that your customers have a personal, human interaction each time help is required customers will take notice, and appreciate your company for it. Use sophisticated tools like Mojo Helpdesk to keep track of the history of purchases and interactions of each customer so repeat customers will encounter representatives knowledgeable of their preferences and past. If possible, assign a specific representative to common customers so anytime they need help, they will work with someone they know and trust.

Finally, do everything possible to exceed customer expectations. Encourage customer representatives to approach every customer interaction with the goal of going above and beyond. Surprise repeat customers occasionally with free shipping and discounts. For those who have joined your mailing list, offer special promotions for holidays and birthdays. Take every opportunity available to remind your customers how much you value them and to show that their loyalty is noticed and appreciated.

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